Have you tried elliptical trainers?

Elliptical trainers are one of the most popular fitness machines in the gym, and increasingly popular for home workouts too. That's because they offer a fantastic cardio workout without pounding the joints too much. For this reason, workouts on the elliptical trainer are considered to be "low impact cardio workouts".

The benefits of elliptical trainers

  • Ellipticals offer the benefits of a low-impact workout, while effectively exercising both your upper and lower body (it's a dual action workout)
  • The elliptical movement reduces strain on your legs, joints and lower back
  • The elliptical movement mimics the natural path of the ankle, knee and hip joints when you're moving
  • Pedals can adjust to the angle of your stride - further reducing joint pressure
  • An elliptical trainer provides a weight-bearing exercise, important to inhibit osteoporosis
  • No other fitness equipment simultaneously works as many muscle groups
  • You tone more of your body and optimise your energy expenditure
  • You burn more calories and fat in less time
  • There is a reduced perceived rate of exertion with an elliptical workout
  • An elliptical trainer is lower maintenance and less likely to require service than a treadmill

Main types of elliptical trainers

There are two main types of mechanism for elliptical trainers: front drive and rear drive.

Rear drive ellipticals are more reliable: front drive ellipticals are a little more complex and a little more prone to something going wrong.

We also find that rear drive elliptical trainers are smoother. However, everyone has different preferences so it's a good idea to try out both types to see which one feels more natural to you.

What to look for when shopping for elliptical trainers

  • Stride length: the stride length required depends on your height. 21" is about standard
  • Smooth motion: the elliptical should feel natural to you
  • Upper body motion: moving handles will add to your workout
  • A good range of adjustable resistance settings
  • An incline feature

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